As parents, we are always used to ensuring that we carry with us all the essentials on a day out. However, it gets trickier when travelling internationally.
It can be almost impossible to physically carry everything we need; what our child needs; and the child as well! The last thing we want to do is make the decision to leave something behind to later regret it.
Sometimes it’s not possible to carry all the items we want for a particular trip. I know from experience that carrying a child and a heavy backpack around South America isn’t ideal.
When adventuring in certain countries with vast climates such as Peru, you need to pack clothing suitable for each climate. For example, consider bringing wooly jumpers, hiking boots, hats, scarves and gloves for the mountainous climate in Cusco and hiking Machu Picchu. On the other hand, shorts, dresses, t-shirts, cargo trousers, and a DSLR camera should be on top of your list if you’re travelling to humid Amazon jungle treks. It also goes without saying that beachwear, sandals, and modest summer attire are the necessities when travelling in the city and walking along beaches.
Clearly, carrying clothing and equipment for 3 climates takes a lot of effort. You might even feel stressed about packing for the holidays if this is the case. Imagine how difficult packing would be if you’re a single parent who also needs to pack your children’s belongings.
In addition to the stress that packing brings, airlines charge a lot of money for excess baggage. They are sneaky; Unfortunately, a key ancillary revenue stream for airlines is huge excess baggage fees, which sometimes make any cheap bargain flight not worth it in the end. So where does that leave us?
Remember, we’re going to be visiting places with different climates. This will require us to bring the proper set of clothing as well as equipment like cameras or snorkeling gear. In addition, you may find yourself bringing along your baby’s carrier. This increases the chances of needing more than the allowed airline baggage weight.
Being a single parent, we are responsible for finding alternative travel arrangements. With all the items we need to bring on our trip, we need a reliable solution. Personally, I don’t want to leave behind essentials, but at the same time I don’t want to waste unnecessary money on hefty penalty fees.
Fortunately, I discovered a company called World Baggage. They offer a freight service that offers up to 70% off the price of excess baggage compared to what airlines charge. The fact they have created such a useful niche they really can secure the very best fees for shipping around and sending baggage to almost anywhere in the world.
They have a very simple and easy to use system that allows you to plan and book online. You select and choose your preferred service, pack and label your bags, schedule the collection and drop off location. The payments are made online and the best part is you can track you baggage online from your mobile phone.
The most useful service I found was the delivery to door courier service. You don’t need to take your baggage or equipment to the airport and to the hotel yourself. World Baggage will deliver your luggage directly for you. Note though that delivery may take around 3-5 days. So it would make sense to get your bags packed and collected a few days before your departure. Doing so will ensure that you receive your baggage just as you arrive at your hotel.
Thanks to companies like World Baggage, you can travel lightly and stress free with your children. You need not worry about how you’re going to carry your luggage or pay the excess baggage fees at the airport.
I love the idea of having my baggage taken care of. What makes it even more convenient is that payments can be made online in your local currency so you won’t be caught short at the airport with cash or incur card transaction fees.
It makes sense for me. We are going to travel around the world next year, from Asia, to the South Pacific, USA and Africa, there is no way I’m going to hoard around our luggage for the entirety of the 4-6 month trip. Can you imagine the amount of bags we need to bring? Imagine how hard it will be to get from airport to airport while managing the kids. I’d rather save my sanity and relax knowing that I can rely on a company such as World Baggage to take care of my baggage for me. As parents, we need to be smart and savvy with our travels and this is possibly the answer!
However, there are precautionary steps that moms-to-be need to consider before embarking on this journey, especially those that guarantee the health and wellness of their growing baby. This is especially true, since there’s an epidemic of Zika Virus in some parts of the world that can really be alarming for most parents. Many resources online have suggested a few destinations where one can plan a great babymoon without the fear of catching the Zika fever. Apart from knowing the right place to visit, there important safety tips that pregnant moms need to consider and prepare for before going on a short or long vacation locally or abroad. Read on below to find out.
Before leaving your home country for a vacation, get a clean bill of health from your GP first. Often, they may suggest that you get important vaccinations to ensure you won’t catch any known illnesses while abroad. Whilst some vaccines are not safe for pregnant women, your midwife or doctor will usually know the recommended and suitable medication for you. A resource on travelling while pregnant suggests a list of recommended vaccinations for mom’s-to-be, such as Meningtis, Polio, Rabies, Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines. Depending on the your preferred destination, your GP may suggest more vaccination to ensure your well-being.
Whilst it’s highly important that you stay comfortable throughout the trip, you do not need to bring too many items with you (no matter how long you will be staying there). Choosing the right clothes, shoes and accessories to bring will make a real difference to your trip. Always bring comfortable shoes that you can easily slip on, especially if you’re likely to do lots of walking. When choosing the clothes to bring, always consider the weather that you will experience in that area. Bring light layered clothes instead of bringing bulky jackets to stay comfortable when the temperature suddenly dips. And, of course, do not forget your pre-natal kit (water bottle, compression socks, pregnancy vitamins, tissues, dry crackers, antacids, and panadol).
The best part about travelling is the ability to try different cuisines that are new to our palette, but pregnant moms need to be careful when dining out. Always consider a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and breads. Although you might be adventurous with food before, you need to be extra cautious with what you eat now that you have a growing baby inside you to keep you feeling well and avoid getting sick while abroad. If you are unsure about the safety of the water in your destination, only buy bottled water from known establishments and avoid buying raw vegetables and fruits that are already peeled. It’s ideal to also bring your own food or snacks in your trip if you feel that you will not be able to eat certain food at your destination.
Take regular breaks
Travelling can also be tiring for many pregnant women, especially those in their 2nd trimester. With all the hardwork that is going on in your body, it’s normal to easily feel tired than usual. It’s okay to catch up on your sleep even when you are on a holiday, as that’s what vacations are for. Resting doesn’t mean you are missing out on a lot of fun. Rather, it allows your body to store more energy to enjoy a few more hours of exploring later. In addition, do not be embarrassed if you need plenty of toilet stops than usual. Just make sure you bring antibacterial hand and body wipes, as not all bathrooms abroad (especially the public ones) are clean and hygienic.
Any parent knows that traveling with young children isn’t the easiest of the things. At times, it can be outright challenging, especially if you’re a single parent. But most parents are known to be resourceful which is why we know they would love any tip or suggestion that would make traveling with children easier and much more fun!
Here, BookSinglesHolidays.com is sharing a set of tips and tricks for all single parents who wish to make the most of globe-trotting with their children!
Don’t Forget the Medicine at Home!
This is very important and something a lot of parents overlook. Do not forget medicine at home, whatever you do! Bring medicine for pain, upset tummies, fevers, allergies, and anything else (prescription or not) that your child might require, but make sure that it’s medicine you can travel with. A feverish child is something nobody wants!
Book Transportation in Advance
When leaving on vacation with your child, it is important to think ahead of all the steps needed to be taken from the time you take your first step out your front door, until you put your bags down in your hotel room. Which is why transportation is so important. Don’t just rely on the fact that you will find a taxi when you get off the airplane! Because if you don’t, then you’ll be stuck with a tired child outside an airport and that has got to be a horrible situation to find yourself in. Call ahead, reserve a car, ask around; whatever you do, make sure there’s a car waiting for you when you guys land.
We know it can be hard to leave the house early when going on vacation with a small child, but if you do make out the door early, you’ll have only benefits to reap. Some airlines will allow parents with children to board just after the first class passengers, so if you make it early, you’re in luck. Boarding early will also release tension and stress, and you and your child will be able to relax on the journey.
Mind the Toys
No matter where you go and for how long you’re staying, you need to bring some toys! Now, it is advisable that you always travel light, so make sure you scale it down when it comes to toys. Hopefully, that can be done without tears being shed, if not, there are so many great travel toys out there that your little one can enjoy.
Avoid Sugar on the Road
Try as much as possible to avoid giving your child sugar before going on a trip. The last thing you want is for your child to have all the energy in the world kick in when you’re taking off. If they do want something sweet, fruit is always a nice choice, or home made granola. Make the treats small and make sure they eat real food before they have their treats.
Don’t Be Afraid of Your Stroller
Some parents can be so apologetic of the stroller. Some avoid it altogether because it’s too heavy or too hard to carry around on vacations, but we advise against that. A stroller can be a huge help, especially on vacations and in airports, when you have to do a lot of walking. You also need to know that strollers don’t count hand luggage.
Do a Little Training Before You Leave
If your child is old enough to remember tasks, then it is wise to do a little training with them before you leave on your vacation. Explain to them what to expect and what is expected from them. Make it short, because we all know kids aren’t too good at paying attention for long periods of time.
Invest in a Child Tracker
The thought that you might lose your child is enough to make any parent break out in a cold sweat, which is why we highly recommend that when you’re on vacation, you get a child tracker for them. Here is a list of some of the most popular child trackers. There are trackers that can be worn as a bracelet, be attached on clothes, just pick the one you think is best for your kid!
Do Your Check In Online
Online check in has improved airports so much! You can now avoid massive lines by simply checking in online a day in advance from the comfort of your home. I mean, how amazing is that?! If you’re not doing it, we urge you to start checking in online and you’ll see how wonderful it feels to simply breeze through the airport in no time!
Flight Attendants are Your Friends
Flight attendants are there to help you and you! As a single parent traveling with a small child, you should take advantage of that as much as you can. We’re not saying that you should pester them with non-stop requests, but you shouldn’t feel guilty every time you need them for something. Let’s say you need to use the bathroom and you can’t take your child with you. Instead of asking the person sitting next to you to keep an eye out on them, ask one of the flight attendants. They’d be more than happy to help!
Avoid the Back of the Plane
If you can choose your seats on an airplane, then we recommend you stay away from the back of the plane. It is undoubtedly the loudest spot in the whole airplane. It’s where there is always a line for the lavatory, where the flight attendants are chatting and getting the serving trays ready and where pretty much all the action happens. A child will surely get distracted by all the commotion and that is something nobody on the plane wants.
Research, Research, Research
Researching a hotel is one of the best things a traveler can do before booking a vacation. And this is valid for any traveler, especially for single parents traveling with their children, where so much more things can go wrong. You need to know if a hotel offers babysitting, or if they have a playpen or a laundry service. Everything you need to have a great vacation! Websites such as Hotels or TripAdvisor are awesome for finding out this type of information.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
A pair of good noise cancelling headphones can really make a difference when traveling with a young child. In airports or anywhere there are loud announcements, on the road or in city centers, your small child needs to be shielded from loud noises. Or use them when your child is napping in an airplane or train and you don’t want them to be easily startled. Just make sure that you choose a pair that fits, if there’s one teeny tiny spot that doesn’t around your child’s ear, then everything is in vain!
Announce in Advance You Have Kids
Another great tip that will surely make a huge difference in your stay at any hotel is to announce in advance that you have kids. This way, you get all the information about what that particular hotel can offer and you’ll be able to schedule accordingly. These days, many hotels offer great kids programs that can give you some much needed time off, so make sure you let them know about it!
Create a Routine
Parents know very well that children thrive on routine, so we highly suggest that you create one for your child while on vacation. It may seem counterproductive to fun, but it’s really not. If your child learns on the first few days how things are going to be, they’ll start relaxing and be more manageable, which will only make your life easier!
Early to Bed, Early to Rise
When on vacation with a small child, it is very important that they go to bed early, for their sake for also for yours. They will be tired and there’s no point mentioning how tired children behave. Besides, if they go to bed early, you get a little time to yourself, to unwind, relax and plan out the schedule for your next day.
Stay As Close to the City Attractions as Possible
When booking a hotel, do your best to choose a hotel that is as close as possible to the city attractions. Even though these hotels tend to be a bit pricier, you will save money on transportation and your child will be a tiny bit happier, because they won’t be forced to walk or be transported too much. Also, you save a lot of time and you can be in and out of things such as museums, in no time!
Expect the Best, Plan for the Worst, and Prepare to be Surprised
Alright, so your vacation probably won’t really be the worst, but you do need to plan accordingly. Just make sure that a few days before you leave, you make a list of things that could go wrong and think how you can counteract that. For example, in case you lose an item that is really important, then make sure you pack a spare one. Trips with small children tend to be filled with surprises, so just make sure you do your best to foresee them, as much as you can.
Alright, now that you’ve planned for the worst and you’re prepared to be surprised, how about you relax? Anxiety is your worst nightmare when leaving on a vacation with your small one, because it produces nothing helpful, just horrible thoughts of things that can go wrong, worrying and stress. We know it’s hard to relax, especially when planning for a vacation when you’re a single parent, which is why we suggest you look into meditation. If you’re already familiar with it, why not go on a meditation retreat?
Go on Single Parent and Kids Retreats
Going on retreats that are aimed at single parents with kids is a great way to unwind and also bond with your child. The absolute best thing about single parent and kids vacations is the support system you will discover there. Meeting single parents will undoubtedly open up your eyes to a whole new world and make you feel like you’re not alone in this, even though, at times, it might seem so. You get to see new and exciting locations, meet like-minded people, bond with your child, relax, have fun and also learn new things. What can be more appealing than that?
Written for Single Mum Travels on behalf of Cristina Costea, Community Manager of BookSinglesHolidays.com, a themed travel website offering a vast collection of singles vacations & solo holidays.